Celexa and Xanax: Is it safe to use them together?
In this blog post, we are going to talk about the safety and efficacy of the concomitant use of celexa and xanax. Celexa is an antidepressant which is used to treat a variety of mental health conditions, whereas xanax is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders.
This blog will cover how and when to use these two together.
Is it safe to use Celexa and Xanax together?
Yes, it is safe to use celexa and xanax together, but only when your healthcare provider has prescribed this combination. Studies suggest that xanax can be taken to counteract early anxiety caused by celexa.
It can also help you fall asleep if your antidepressant causes insomnia as a side effect.
However, the dose at which you take xanax can make a huge difference and it is also not recommended to use xanax for a long period of time because of its addictive properties.
What does research suggest regarding the concomitant use of celexa and xanax?
Several researchers have studied the combined effects of celexa and xanax on the patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
A 2008 study concluded that the combination therapy of celexa and benzodiazepines may result in more successful outcomes as compared to monotherapy. The same study also indicated the importance of dose adjustment to maximise beneficial effects and minimise the side effects.
A 1988 study monitored the antidepressive effects of xanax (alprazolam) and observed six case studies, four of which showed great outcomes, similar to those of Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), but with less side effects.
This indicates that xanax itself possesses antidepressant properties but the mechanism through which it works to counteract the symptoms of depression is still unknown.
Another study indicated the chances of xanax induced addiction and the fact that prolonged treatment becomes extremely hard to stop. One thing that comes directly in mind from the word ‘addiction’ is mood instability which follows when it’s time to stop using such a med.
This creates a barrier between celexa and its beneficial effects, just because the patient undergoes xanax withdrawal syndrome, which has pretty disturbing symptoms including:
- Panic attacks
- Anxiety relapse
- Mood instability
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle cramps and weakness
- Excessive sweating
These symptoms can vary from person to person and it depends on the dose and the duration of treatment with xanax. These withdrawal symptoms here are speaking for themselves and you can imagine how these symptoms can interfere with your depression treatment.
This is exactly why the duration of xanax use is confined to the time period taken by celexa to kick in.
However, this is not always the case. In major anxiety disorders, this combination can be used for a prolonged period of time, but the doses are determined carefully, in order to prevent addiction and side effects.
What are the upsides and downsides associated with the concomitant use of celexa and xanax?
Every single medication combination comes with some beneficial and some harmful effects. As discussed earlier, the kind of effects you go through are also related to your body’s response to the drugs you take.
Some people are extremely sensitive when it comes to medicines and they can’t even tolerate one med properly, let alone the combination of medicines. Let’s look at the pros and cons associated with the concomitant use of celexa and xanax:
- Improves anxiety, jitteriness and mood instability till celexa kicks in.
- Helps relieve the early side effects of celexa including insomnia and irritability.
- Provides more favourable outcomes in the treatment of severe anxiety disorder.
- Can relax your muscles and brain during episodes of restlessness.
- The concomitant use can increase the risk of sedation.
- You may suffer from low mental alertness, impaired motor functions, confusion, or forgetfulness.
- It may make daily activities like driving difficult for you.
- This combination may cause complications in patients with heart problems and breathing-related disorders.
- It may cause pronounced psychological side effects in geriatric population.
What are the risks associated with the use of celexa and xanax together?
Both celexa and xanax are associated with few side effects, which can vary from person to person.
The concomitant use may increase the risk of drowsiness, low mental alertness, impaired motor functions, confusion, forgetfulness etc, but these side effects depend on the doses you’re at.
Side effects are not just the effects of your drug but also how your body responds to the drug. Xanax is generally well tolerated, but some people may suffer from the side effects and might even stop the treatment because of them.
It depends on the pre-existing health conditions as well. One of the side effects of benzodiazepines include respiratory depression, which is dose dependent.
A person with normal respiratory function might not even notice this side effect on the normal therapeutic dose, but people with chronic breathing disorders like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema etc, can suffer from significant breathing difficulties.
Similarly, celexa is considered safe to be used in cardiac patients, but it could cause QT elongation and make pre-existing arrhythmia even worse. Xanax is also known for causing an addiction, which is why it is not suitable for prolonged use.
Doctors usually recommend using it as long as your antidepressant kicks in. After that, both anxiety and depression can be managed by celexa and xanax is slowly tapered off because it is not safe to use benzodiazepines for a long period of time.
Both pharmacodynamics (how a drug affects your body) and pharmacokinetics (how your body affects a drug) are considered.
It is always best to consult your healthcare provider and be certain that the combination of meds you’re about to use is compatible with any underlying health condition you might have. It is also important to make sure that all of your meds are compatible with one another.
When to call your doctor?
- Immediately talk to your healthcare provider if you experience unusual side effects while taking celexa and xanax together.
- Inform your doctor if you’re pregnant, trying to conceive. Xanax should not be used by pregnant women and celexa can also be dangerous for the fetus, especially when used in the third trimester.
- Inform your doctor if you’re a breastfeeding mother. Both of these drugs are capable of passing into the breastmilk and may cause side effects in newborns.
- Do not stop celexa or xanax abruptly. If it’s time for you to stop one or both of these meds, your doctor will simply recommend a taper schedule for you, which should be followed vigilantly if you wish to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay.
- Report any problems with bleeding or bruising to your doctor. If you see any unexplained blisters or rashes on your body, or experience any problems with urination, or if you feel changes in your vision, immediately report to your healthcare provider.
In this blog, we have discussed the safety, efficacy and possible interactions associated with the use of celexa and xanax together. Several studies showed that xanax and other benzodiazepines can be used to control early anxiety caused by celexa.
The treatment is usually continued till your antidepressant kicks in. Both celexa and xanax are associated with few side effects, which can vary from person to person.
The concomitant use may increase the risk of drowsiness, low mental alertness, impaired motor functions, confusion, forgetfulness etc, but these side effects depend on the doses you’re at. High doses of both the meds can make you vulnerable to CNS side effects.
It is important to ask your mental healthcare professional before using any such medications along with your antidepressants. Benzodiazepines should be used with caution because of its addiction-causing properties.
FAQs: celexa and xanax
Can you take Xanax while taking Celexa?
Yes, you can take xanax while taking celexa but only if your healthcare provider has prescribed this combination. Studies suggest that xanax can be taken to counteract early anxiety caused by celexa.
It can also help you fall asleep if your antidepressant causes insomnia as a side effect. However, the dose at which you take xanax can make a huge difference and it is also not recommended to use xanax for a long period of time because of its addictive properties.
What drugs should not be taken with alprazolam?
- Antifungals and antivirals. They may inhibit the metabolism of clonazepam and cause toxicity.
- Antiepileptics. The concomitant use may decrease the beneficial effects of clonazepam.
- Anti-allergy medications. The concomitant use increases the risk of sedation
- Narcotic analgesics or any other controlled substance. The concomitant use can cause serious CNS side effects.
- Sleeping pills
- Other anxiolytics and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).
Is Xanax and Celexa the same?
No, xanax and celexa are two separate medications. Xanax (Alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine. It is used to help control anxiety, convulsions and panic attacks. This medication basically mimics inhibitory chemicals in your brain, like GABA, to control the excessive neuronal activity.
Celexa (Citalopram), on the other hand, is an antidepressant. It is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and is used to treat mild to severe episodes of depression and generalised anxiety disorder.
Celexa inhibits the reuptake of serotonin by blocking serotonin transporters (SERT), which results in increased serotonergic activity.
What should you not take with Celexa?
- Monoaminoxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The combination use can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). The combination use can increase the risk of bleeding.
- Pimozide. The concomitant use can increase the plasma concentration(availability of a drug in the blood) of pimozide to much higher levels. It can result in life-threatening arrhythmia.
- Controlled substances, including all narcotic analgesics. The concomitant use can cause severe psychological side effects.
- Mood stabilisers
Can I take Xanax and antidepressants together?
Yes, you can take xanax with antidepressants if prescribed by your healthcare professional. However, the dose at which you take xanax can make a huge difference. High doses can cause interaction and result in symptoms, including the increased risk of drowsiness, low mental alertness, impaired motor functions, confusion, forgetfulness etc.
In what scenarios are celexa and Xanax prescribed together?
Celexa and xanax are prescribed together for the treatment of major anxiety. This combination is also used to help relieve the early side effects of celexa including insomnia, anxiety, jitteriness, mood instability etc. This combination, however, should not be used for a long period of time
- Boadie W. Dunlop, M.D. and Paula G. Davis, Ph.D. (2008) – Combination Treatment With Benzodiazepines and SSRIs for Comorbid Anxiety and Depression: A Review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2446479/#__ffn_sectitle
- M D Warner et al. J Clin Psychiatry. (1988) – Alprazolam as an antidepressant https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3281931/
- Nassima Ait-Daoud, MD, Allan Scott Hamby, MD, and Derek Blevins, MD (2018) – A Review of Alprazolam Use, Misuse, and Withdrawal https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5846112/#__ffn_sectitle
- Angelina F. Gomez, Abigail L. Barthel, and Stefan G. Hofmann (2017) – Comparing the Efficacy of Benzodiazepines and Serotonergic Anti-Depressants for Adults with Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A meta-analytic review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6097846/#__ffn_sectitle